Unique science for health policy think-tank joins University of Cambridge

By Philippa Brice

28 March 2018


A leading multidisciplinary think tank, the PHG Foundation, will become part of the University of Cambridge from
1 April this year, with a focus on making science work for health. This has been made possible by a philanthropic gift from the Hong Kong based Hatton Trust, which has recognised the University’s global eminence in science, medicine and the humanities alongside the pioneering policy development work of the Foundation.

The PHG Foundation, which has received major funding from the Hatton Trust for over ten years of its twenty-year history, will be hosted by the University’s School for Clinical Medicine. The Foundation already enjoys close links with other parts of the University, including the Centre for Law, Medicine and Society at the Faculty of Law, the Department of History and Philosophy of Science, Cambridge University Health Partners and Hughes Hall. 

The think-tank will also be working with the Clinical School, the Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH) and the Cambridge Institute for Public Policy (CIPP) to create cross-cutting policy impact in the application of science to benefit health and society.

Commenting on the new association, the Vice-Chancellor Professor Stephen Toope said: 

This initiative brings together the unique research strengths of both the PHG Foundation, which has led such exemplary thinking around how science can best work for health, and the University’s world-leading School of Clinical Medicine. It marks a new stage in a long association between our two organisations, and one which has great potential in working across disciplinary boundaries. I am enormously grateful to the Hatton Trust for making this possible, and look forward to the University and the Foundation jointly addressing some of the major health challenges facing society today.

The Regius Professor of Physic and Head of the School of Clinical Medicine, Professor Sir Patrick Maxwell, said: 

 As the world of medicine changes more rapidly than perhaps ever before, and the ethical and societal questions that we face become ever more complex, interdisciplinary collaboration will increasingly be the key to success. I am delighted that we will be working so closely with the PHG Foundation, an organisation which shares our unswerving commitment to ensuring that biomedical innovation can truly deliver better health for all. 

The Founder and Chair of Trustees of the PHG Foundation, Dr Ron Zimmern, said:

It has long been my vision that excellence in medicine should combine with that in law, ethics, philosophy and the humanities to consider both practical policy needs and wider societal implications posed by scientific innovations for health. I am delighted to see the work of the PHG Foundation over the last twenty years recognised by the University of Cambridge, and I am sure that the unique combination of a policy think-tank and Clinical School will be highly successful.

PHG Foundation Director Dr Mark Kroese said:

We support policy development that accelerates the appropriate use of the very best new science in healthcare, offering better patient experiences and outcomes. The Clinical School is a world-leading source of medical excellence, research and leadership, and we are very much looking forward to working more closely with colleagues there as we continue to provide multidisciplinary perspectives on the policy issues around cutting-edge medical interventions and technologies.


More information

About the PHG Foundation

  • PHG Foundation is a non-profit, independent think tank with a special focus on how genomics and other emerging health technologies can provide more effective, personalised healthcare. Its mission is making science work for health.
  • For more information, see www.phgfoundation.org

About the campaign for the University and Colleges of Cambridge

  • The Dear World…Yours, Cambridge fundraising campaign for the University and Colleges was launched in autumn 2015 to raise £2bn to attract the brightest minds, create the most inspiring environment for world-class research and give the freedom to develop more world-changing ideas. To date more than £1.1 billion has been raised towards the total, including the gift from the Hatton Trust.
  • The campaign focuses on the University’s impact on the world, and through it Cambridge is working with philanthropists to address major global challenges.


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